Deana Parkinson - My careers teacher laughed at me when I said I wanted to become a butcher
PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 April 2015
Great Eccleston butcher celebrates 30 years in the business
It is to be hoped that the teacher who gave careers advice to Deana Parkinson has learned his lesson. He told Deana when she was a pupil at St Aidan’s High School in Preesall that girls could not become butchers. ‘Try hairdressing or secretarial work,’ he suggested.
His attitude made the young Deana still more determined to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather and her father. ‘I never wanted to do any other job,’ she said. ‘My careers teacher laughed at me so I wanted to become a butcher even more then, to show him. I have seen him since and although he didn’t quite apologise, he did mention what he’d said.’
Deana has recently clocked up thirty years working for herself, on markets and in shops at Knott End and Great Eccleston, where she has been behind the well-stocked counter for ten years.
And although it is still uncommon to find a female butcher, Deana is doing her bit to redress the balance. She runs the shop with help from former school friends Jill Cummings and Norma Ingleson, who both took more notice of the career’s advice they were given. Norma was a hairdresser and Jill worked as a medical receptionist before they put on their pinnies and started working with Deana.
‘There are more female butchers about now than when I started, but we are still a small minority,’ Deana said. ‘I think we’re more approachable than the traditional male butcher and easier to talk to. We get a lot of female customers and a lot of them ask us about cooking the meat.
‘We are training a young woman who is customer here who came in one day and wanted to learn about butchery, she’s in her early 30s and we’ve been training her for about two years.’
Deana learned the trade from her family – her dad wouldn’t let her go to college because he wanted to train her – and she started on the family stall at markets in Darwen and Preston. Her two brothers are also butchers, one of them still has a stall on Preston market, but she said: ‘We have seven children between us and none of them are butchers and although my brothers are both butchers, we are quite different.
‘I started on the markets and then had a shop in Knott End for ten years, then I thought I might like to do something different so I was without a shop for a year or so but I really missed it. I didn’t like not seeing people.
‘I think in a village like this people depend on you and a village shop should provide a personal service that goes the extra mile and that’s what we try to do. For me, the quality of the product has to be the best and we have to treat people properly.
‘We make everything ourselves, including our own marinades with fresh ingredients. We want to sell people what we would want to take home ourselves, we want everything to be just right.
‘It’s hard work, though. As I get older I’m starting to think my old careers teacher might have been right.’